tourist wanders into a back-alley antique shop in San Francisco's
Chinatown. Picking through the objects on display he discovers a detailed
bronze sculpture of a rat. The sculpture is so interesting and unique
that he picks it up and asks the shop owner the price.
dollars for the rat, sir," says the shop owner, "and an
extra thousand for the story behind it."
that price, you can keep the story," he replies, "but I'll
take the bronze rat."
transaction complete, the tourist leaves the store with the bronze
rat under his arm. As he crosses the street in front of the store,
two live rats emerge from a sewer drain and fall into step behind
looking over his shoulder, he begins to walk faster, but every time
he passes another sewer, more rats come out and follow him. By the
time he's walked two blocks, at least a hundred rats are at his heels,
and people begin to point and shout. He walks even faster, and soon
breaks into a trot as multitudes of rats swarm from sewers, basements,
vacant lots, and abandoned cars... following him.
by the thousands are at his heels, and as he sees the waterfront at
the bottom of the hill he panics and starts to run full tilt.
matter how fast he runs, the rats keep up, squealing hideously now
not just thousands but millions, so that by the time he comes racing
to the water's edge a trail of rats twelve blocks long is behind him.
a mighty leap, he jumps up onto a lamp post, grasping it with one
arm, while he hurls the bronze rat into San Francisco Bay as far as
he can throw it.
his legs up and clinging to the post, he watches in amazement as the
seething tide of rats surges over the breakwater into the sea, where
and mumbling, he makes his way back to the antique shop.
sir, you've come back for the story," says the owner.
says the tourist, "I was just hoping you had a bronze sculpture
of a lawyer "